How much does it cost to install or convert to a saltwater pool?
Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to install or convert to a saltwater pool?

Ashburn, VA

How much does it cost to install or convert to a saltwater pool?

$600 – $2,200cost to convert pool to saltwater
$29,000 – $57,000cost to install new saltwater pool

The average cost to install an inground saltwater pool is $29,000 to $57,000. To convert from a chlorine pool to a salt water swimming pool, expect to spend $600 to $1,100 for an above-ground pool, and between $1,100 and $2,200 for an inground pool. 

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$600 – $2,200 cost to convert pool to saltwater

$29,000 – $57,000 cost to install new saltwater pool

The average cost to install an inground saltwater pool is $29,000 to $57,000. To convert from a chlorine pool to a salt water swimming pool, expect to spend $600 to $1,100 for an above-ground pool, and between $1,100 and $2,200 for an inground pool. 

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Tom Grupa
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Tom Grupa

Saltwater Pool Cost

The average cost to build a new saltwater pool is $36,400, with most spending  $29,000 to $57,000 depending on the pool size, shape, and material. This price includes a saltwater chlorination system which converts a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool for $600 to $2,200.

Salt water pool cost - chart
Salt water pool cost - chart
  • Saltwater pools do not need any chemicals and don't have a chlorine smell.

  • A salt chlorine generator uses electrolysis to turn the salt and water to chlorine to keep the water clean.

  • Salt only needs to be added a few times a year and feels gentle on the skin and eyes.

  • Converting to saltwater reduces pool maintenance, making it an excellent long-term choice for new pool owners.

Saltwater Pool Cost
National Average Cost $36,400
Minimum Cost $18,000
Maximum Cost $197,000
Average Range $29,000 to $57,000

Get free estimates from inground pool installation companies near you.

Converting Chlorine Pool To Saltwater Costs

The cost to convert a chlorine pool to a saltwater pool is $600 to $2,200. Converting a 10,000-gallon above-ground pool costs $872, while a 50,000-gallon inground pool can be converted for $1,650. This price covers the saltwater chlorination system, ample bags of salt, and installation.

Converting chlorine pool to saltwater cost - chart
Converting chlorine pool to saltwater cost - chart
Cost To Convert Pool To Saltwater
Item Above Ground Pool
10,000 Gallons
Inground Pool
50,000 Gallons
Salt Water System $250 – $550 $550 – $1,350
Installation by a Professional $300 – $500 $300 – $500
40 lb. Bags of Salt $64 – $80 for 8 bags $250 – $350 for 33 bags
Total Cost $614 – $1,130 $1,100 – $2,200

Saltwater Pool vs. Chlorine Pool Cost

The difference in the cost of a saltwater pool vs. a chlorine pool lies mainly in the cost of chlorine and the initial purchase of the salt system. Both pools use chlorine to keep algae and other bacteria away, providing a healthy environment for swimming.

A saltwater pool creates chlorine with a chlorine generator from the salt added to the water. The “cell” which is the part that generates the chlorine needs replacing every 3 to 6 years at the cost of about $800. The pool also requires added salt a few times per year at an average price of $10 per 40-pound bag.

In comparison, a chlorine pool requires adding chlorine quite often. How often depends on the pool size and weekly water testing results. It’s typical to go through 1 to 2 buckets of chlorine tablets a year at the cost of $100 to $755 in addition to other balancing chemicals.

How Much Salt Do I Need When I Change Over My Pool?

When converting to saltwater, you’ll need about 440 pounds of salt for a 15,000-gallon inground pool or around 11 bags of salt.

  • The ideal salt-to-water ratio is 2,700 to 3,400 parts per million (ppm).

  • At 3,500 ppm, humans can taste and sense salt, but at around 3,000 ppm of dissolved salt in the pool, the water will feel soft and silky.

Saltwater Pool Conversion Pros and Cons

Saltwater Pool Conversion Pros and Cons
Advantages Disadvantages
  • Uses electricity creates chlorine from the salt
  • No chlorine smell. Water is softer and gentle on the skin and eyes.
  • Salt is cheap.
  • No chemicals are needed. Salt only needs to be added a few times a year.
  • Salt can be corrosive on metal, necessitating the repair of metal parts. The pool pump might not last as long.
  • pH levels can be high with salt, and frequent testing must be done.
  • The initial cost is high, due to the need for an electrolyzer.
  • The electrolyzer can need frequent maintenance and will need to be replaced every few years.

Modern house with inground salt water pool and illuminated lighting
Modern house with inground salt water pool and illuminated lighting

Saltwater Pool System Considerations

  • The salt cell costs $500 to $800 to replace and needs replacing every 3 to 6 years. Without a functioning salt cell, the chlorine will not be created from the salt, and your pool environment will suffer.

  • Spilled salt water should be rinsed as soon as possible. Saltwater splashed onto anything metal will eventually corrode that metal.

  • Saltwater will kill surrounding grass and some plants.

  • A saltwater pool should be tested weekly with salt and pH levels rebalanced.

  • Salt buildup must be cleaned off the salt cell and pool interior regularly.

  • Salt can corrode specific metal rails, steps, etc., so don’t install these in or near the pool.

How To Convert a Pool to a Saltwater Pool

Follow these steps to convert a pool to a saltwater pool:

  1. Choose your salt system and the additional features you want—digital readers, self-cleaning abilities, etc.

  2. Figure out your pool power source setup – 3-prong or twist-lock plug.

  3. Hook up your salt cell to your plumbing line with a return jet or hose/pipe.

  4. Test the water.

  5. Turn off the salt chlorine generator.

  6. Add salt according to your saltwater system manual and the number of gallons in your pool. Use salt that is at 99.8% NaCl. Brush the water around to speed up the dissolving process.

  7. Turn the salt chlorinator on and run it for 24 hours.

Cost of Inground Saltwater Pool

The cost to install an inground saltwater pool starts at $18,000 for a small fiberglass pool and goes up to $62,000+ for a large concrete pool. The cost to build a pool depends on how level the ground is, the size and type of pool, and any additional features such as waterfalls or jets.

Saltwater Pool Cost Estimator

The cost to build an inground saltwater pool is about the same as a traditional pool that's chlorinated plus $1,100 to $2,200. The extra cost is attributed to the price of the salt system, installation, and bags of salt.

Cost To Install Saltwater Pool
Pool Size Average Cost To Install
10' x 16' $16,000 – $26,000
10' x 20' $19,300 – $28,200
10' x 30' $28,400 – $41,200
12' x 20' $22,900 – $33,400
12' x 24' $27,300 – $39,700
12' x 30' $33,900 – $49,000
14' x 28' $36,800 – $53,200
15' x 20' $28,400 – $41,200
15' x 30' $42,100 – $60,700
16' x 32' $47,700 – $68,700
18' x 36' $60,100 – $86,500
20' x 40' $73,900 – $106,200
25' x 45' $103,500 – $148,500
30' x 50' $137,600 – $197,200

Rectangle inground saltwater pool with hot tub in backyard
Rectangle inground saltwater pool with hot tub in backyard
  • Size – The pool size will determine much of the price, as your salt system is based on how many gallons the pool holds. Oversizing your salt system can prolong its life as it doesn’t have to run as frequently.

  • Location – The more grading and excavating you need to have done, the more it will cost. If the ground is level to begin with and the only groundwork needed is excavating for the hole, you’ll save some money.

Labor Cost To Install Saltwater Pool

The labor cost of a saltwater pool installation is $8,000 to $30,000. The lowest price doesn’t include the excavation, but it does include all installation work. The highest cost is usually all-inclusive and includes the patio, fencing, plumbing, and electrical work.

  • Excavation costs about $9.22 per cubic yard to a 6-foot depth.

  • Digging a hole for a 15 x 20’ pool costs about $920 while digging for a 20' x 30' pool costs $1,230.

Above-ground pool salt systems are much easier to set up, and can sometimes be installed in less than an hour. Professional installation costs $300 to $500.

Above Ground Saltwater Pool Cost

The cost to install an above-ground saltwater pool is $3,000 to $8,000 depending on the size of the pool and the labor costs. Converting an above-ground pool to a saltwater pool costs $600 to $1,200, including the saltwater chlorination system, salt, and professional labor.

Above ground saltwater pool installed on a concrete slab in a home's backyard
Above ground saltwater pool installed on a concrete slab in a home's backyard
  • The yearly cost of additives for your saltwater above-ground pool is $250 to $750 depending on the size of the pool.

  • An above-ground pool usually needs replacing every 7 to 15 years, costing $3,000 to $8,000.

  • Above-ground saltwater pool kits include the pool frame, the liner, the salt system, and the pump and sand filter. Most kits also contain a cleaning kit, a ladder, a cover, and a ground cloth.

Inground Pool Comparison

  • The total cost to install an inground saltwater pool is $25,000 to $100,000.

  • Concrete typically needs to be replastered every 8 to 12 years, costing $6,000 to $10,000.

  • A new pool liner costs $3,000 or more to install or replace. Vinyl pool liners usually need replacing every 10 years, but saltwater can break these down faster if the pH levels are not monitored continuously.

Saltwater Lap Pools

An inground lap pool costs $18,200 and $78,000+ for the pool itself, and another $1,100 to $2,200 for the salt system turning it into a saltwater pool. Since the original cost includes a standard pool pump, there is a good chance you could exchange that one for a saltwater system.

Saltwater Lap Pool Cost
Size Vinyl Fiberglass Concrete
60' x 20' $109,200 $140,400 $156,000
30' x 20' $54,600 $70,200 $78,000
20' x 10' $18,200 $23,400 $26,000

Saltwater Pool Pros and Cons

Of the three main types of pool materials, fiberglass pools are the most durable for saltwater pools, but all three can be used. Check out our saltwater pool cost comparison chart below.

Saltwater Pool Pros and Cons
Surface Cost Pros Cons
Fiberglass $9,000 – $24,000 with delivery costs of $600 – $2,500
  • Resists algae
  • Easily repaired
  • Doesn’t corrode with the salt
  • Costs more than vinyl
  • High cost of transport due to size
  • Limited shape configurations
Vinyl $35,000 – $65,000
  • Very durable
  • Easily delivered
  • Current vinyl is thicker and stronger than previous years.
  • Requires replacing over the lifetime of the pool
  • May develop rust stains from metal
  • Algae-friendly surface
Concrete $50,000 – $100,000
  • Completely customizable as far as shape and depth
  • Durable
  • Classic appearance
  • Rough surface which algae like but feet don’t
  • Takes a long time to build
  • Requires more chemicals to reduce pH levels due to concrete's high alkalinity
Shotcrete $50,000 – $100,000
  • Durable
  • Endless design options
  • Can be tiled
  • Long construction time (months rather than weeks)
  • Very rough surface
  • Requires finish coat reapplication every 7 – 10 years

Top view of converted chlorine pool to saltwater with brick and rock tiling
Top view of converted chlorine pool to saltwater with brick and rock tiling
  • Saltwater Fiberglass Pool – Fiberglass is the best option with a saltwater system as salt doesn’t affect it and maintenance costs are lower.

  • Saltwater Vinyl Pool – Vinyl pool liners require more care with a saltwater system. Some of the parts where the liner attaches to the edge can corrode if saltwater gets inside, and the pool itself can be damaged if there are rips in the liner. The saltwater metals can also begin to rot a pool’s steel walls.

  • Gunite Saltwater Pool – Saltwater can be rough on the concrete, and it might not last as long as it would with a conventional system.

  • Shotcrete Saltwater Pool – Shotcrete is more likely to crack, at which point the saltwater can do damage.

Pool Water Delivery Cost

A 15,000-gallon pool will cost $80 to $160 to fill using your garden hose or $600 to $1,200 if trucked in. Filling your pool with a garden hose is possible but time-consuming. A water tanker holds about 9,000 lbs. of water, and you’ll need a tanker and a half of water. It costs more to hire tankers, but it is much faster.

  • City Water – Having a pool can increase your water bill $4 to $20 per month, due to the 2 inches per week water loss due to evaporation. The average price of water is $0.002 to $0.011 per gallon.

  • Well Water – Well water isn’t treated whereas city water is. The metals and minerals can stain your pool wall and possibly turn the water brown. You can filter the water before it goes into the pool with something like a Hayword Bobby filter ($32) on the end of your garden hose which filters out the impurities, or treat the water once it’s in the pool with a metal control treatment or water clarifier.

Saltwater Pool Equipment Cost

Professionals recommend purchasing a saltwater pool chlorinator rated for a pool larger than the one you have, to put less strain on the motor and keep it working efficiently, keeping chlorine in your pool.

Saltwater Pool Equipment Cost
Equipment Inground Above Ground
Pump $690 – $920 $500 and up
Filter $500 – $1,600
(pump + filter)
$100 – $400
(filter only)

Saltwater Pool Pump

  • A saltwater pool pump for an inground pool costs $690 to $920 for pools 15,000 to 40,000 gallons in size.

  • For above-ground saltwater pools that are larger, you’ll pay $500+ for a pump rated up to 18,000 gallons.

Also, consider buying a pump that takes some of the work out of maintenance—with a digital display, LED indicators, self-cleaning, water flow detector, low or overload salt detectors, temperature protection, etc. An advanced control panel allows you to set the desired amount of chlorine output, with indicators for temperature, salt level, and water flow.

Saltwater Pool Filters

The cost for an in-ground saltwater pool pump with a filter is $500 to $1,600. Saltwater filters are filled with sand, as that is an effective and affordable method of filtering the water.

For an above-ground pool, a pump and filter system costs $220 for a 2,600- to 8,500-gallon pool. For larger pools, expect to pay $280 for a pump that handles 4,800 to 15,000 gallons. Filters alone for above-ground saltwater pools cost from $100 to $400.

Saltwater Pool Heater

Inground saltwater pool heaters cost $1,600 to $5,200 installed. Prices depend on how much water you need to heat, and what the rise in temperature is from the average coldest temperature to the desired water temperature.

  • Electric tankless water heaters cost $500 to $600 and are suitable for small pools that don’t need the temperature to rise too much.

  • Larger and more powerful electric pool water heaters cost $1,200 and $6,000, while similar gas-powered pool water heaters cost $1,500 and $4,500.

  • Heat pump water heaters cost $2,000 to $6,000 and work in hotter climates, transferring the heat in the air to the water in the pool.

  • A saltwater pool heater for an inground pool costs $50 to $250 per month in electrical costs.

Installing Saltwater Pool Extras

There are many extras you can purchase to enhance your swimming experience.

Get free estimates from inground pool installation companies near you.
  • Add a Saltwater Hot Tub – Installing a hot tub saltwater system costs $500 to $1,700. Any hot tub can be turned into a saltwater hot tub, but you can get a molded, hexagonal tub for $3,000 to $10,000. For an inground hot tub, costs can reach around $20,000.

  • Handicap Pool Lift – A handicap pool lift is available for in-ground pools. One version with a seat that lowers into the water costs $3,355. There are many options for handicapped pool lifts, making the pool accessible to nearly every person.

  • Patio or deck – A concrete patio costs $4 to $12 per square foot or $3,000 to $10,000, depending on the size, design, and complexity.

  • A pool enclosure costs $4,000 to $14,000.

  • A pool cover costs $1,000 to $3,600.

  • Pool Fence – An aluminum pool fence costs $30 to $45 per linear foot installed..

  • Water Features

    • A waterfall costs $2,000 to $13,600.

    • Bubbler – $450 – $700 each

    • Deck jets – $500 – $1000 each

  • Large landscaping rocks cost $5 to $350 each. A 21” x 21” faux hollow rock costs $90.

Saltwater Pool Maintenance

Saltwater pool maintenance costs about $45 per month if you do it yourself, and $80 to $150 per month if you pay a cleaning service. You can save on this cost if you close the pool for a few months every winter for around $300.

A saltwater pool requires regular cleaning regularly from debris that falls or blows into it, dust that settles in the water, and salt buildup—salt solids can collect on the bottom of the pool.

Depending on the price you pay, weekly services can include:

  • Water testing and balancing

  • Backwashing filter

  • Cleaning out skimmer and pump baskets

  • Cleaning out auto pool cleaner bag

  • Brushing pool walls and floor if needed

  • Skimming the pool surface

  • Vacuuming the pool

Saltwater Pool Care

  • Inspect the salt cell every few months. Most will have an indicator light that tells you when it needs to be replaced. Replacing the cell in the salt chlorine generator every 3 to 6 years costs $800 ($100 less than if you had a regular chlorinated pool).

  • Test the water for pH and chlorine levels once per week.

  • Test the water for salinity levels once per month. Many chlorinators have a display reading that tells you the level, but it’s a good idea to check.

  • Keep the pool filter, pump, and surface clean. If the filter becomes clogged, the chlorinator will not create chlorine.

  • Clean salt cells regularly as salt can build up. This can also be taken care of by a self-cleaning salt system.

  • Clean the generator cells every 3 to 4 months with a mild acid wash to descale any corrosion buildup. Saltwater splashed out of the pool onto the coping can build up and cause corrosion too. Regularly washing the salt away easily to prevent corrosion.

Saltwater Pool Cleaning

The cost of a saltwater pool cleaning for a pool up to 20’ x 40’ can include:

  • Draining the pool for $175

  • Pool brushing for $85 per hour

  • Vacuuming for $120 to $270 or $85 per hour

  • Draining and cleaning at $650

Saltwater Pool Chemicals

  • Chlorine levels should stay between 1 to 3 ppm. The salt system produces the chlorine.

  • Calcium hardness should stay at 50 to 300 ppm for vinyl, 220 to 320 ppm for fiberglass, and 350 to 450 ppm for plaster.

  • Cyanuric acid should rest at 70 to 80 ppm for outdoor pools.

  • Keep salt levels at the recommended level. A 40 lb. bag of salt is $6 to $50 depending on its quality. Some saltwater chlorine generators use a high-tech cell that sends you readouts of your water’s salt levels, cleanliness, temp, and flow, saving you testing time. Salt cells can give reading failures regarding salt levels, so always test the water itself before adding more salt.

  • The pH level tends to be higher in saltwater pools. Testing often is recommended and then adjust the pH level with an application of muriatic acid to decrease alkalinity or sodium bicarbonate to increase it. The pH level should fall between 7.2 to 7.8.

Saltwater Pool Test Kit

A saltwater pool test kit costs $15 to $55, and saltwater test strips cost $11 to $25 for 40 strips. A test kit lets you know if you need to rebalance the salinity and pH level of your saltwater.

Not all saltwater pool test kits give results for the salinity of the water, so check to make sure the one you want to purchase gives that result.

What Is the Annual Cost of a Saltwater Pool?

If you hire a pool service company, the annual maintenance cost of a saltwater pool is $970 to $1,700, and $300+ to open or close the pool.

  • The average price of electricity to run the pool, depending on where you live, is $780 to $1,200 per year. The pump must run continually to produce chlorine.

  • Replacement parts and repairs cost $250 to $1,500.

Saltwater Pool FAQs

What Are The Benefits of a Saltwater Pool?

Benefits of a saltwater pool:

  • The salt added to your pool softens the water, making it kinder to your skin.

  • Saltwater contains bromide, which is good for aching joints, making your swim therapeutic.

  • There’s no irritation of eyes or skin, or green hair, from the higher levels of chlorine in a non-saltwater pool.

  • Traditionally chlorinated pools can have adverse effects on those with breathing problems.

What Are Saltwater Pool Health Risks?

There are very few health risks associated with saltwater pools. The salt is odorless, and it has very few risks for allergic reactions — the salt results in fewer chloramines which reduce eye irritation and chlorine smell.

Can You Be Allergic To Saltwater Pools?

Many people have allergies to chemical chlorine, but very few people have allergies to salt or the chlorine it produces.

Get free estimates from inground pool installation companies near you.

How Do Saltwater Pools Work?

A saltwater pool needs a saltwater chlorination system to function correctly. The salt system contains an electrolyzer that generates chlorine from the salt and water as the saltwater passes through an electrical current. The process results in fewer chloramines, which softens the water, is good for aching joints, and doesn't smell like chlorine.

Hiring Saltwater Pool Installers

Before hiring a contractor, be sure to:

  • Get at least three in-person estimates to compare.

  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide and Google.

  • Select companies that are licensed, insured, bonded, and have been in business for 5+ years.

  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.

  • Ask for an itemized contract and warranty in writing.

  • Never pay in full before the job is complete.

Questions To Ask Installers

  • Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?

  • Can you provide references with contact information?

  • How do you handle damages that happen on the job?

  • What does your warranty policy include?

  • What’s your payment schedule?

  • Do you offer a maintenance plan? If so, how much does it cost and what does it include?